Honoring the Women in Our Lives

Mother’s Day is this weekend. I was reminded by one of my favorite authors, Rosemarie Fitzsimmons of The Portrait Writer,  that it may not be easy for some of us to celebrate our mothers. Some of us may no longer have our moms with us while still others don’t have wonderful memories or relationships with their mothers.

As I reflect back on my own mother, I remember some sad times as she struggled in a marriage that was not kind to her and led her to find relief in a bottle of beer or cognac. Her alcoholism would tarnish her image for us children as we remember the angry outbursts and thefights with her husband. She could be rather brutal when under the influence and it would be easy to just remember that mother.

But my mother was also a generous loving woman. She loved her church and when not tending to the family, you could find her in service to the Lord or at school volunteering. People who met her there saw the heart of Jesus and a friend that would give everything for them. I think my sister and I learned those lessons–to give without ever expecting anything in return, simply because we are led by the Holy Spirit.

Unfortunately because of her alcohol abuse my mother wasn’t always available to me as a mother. She did her best. She loved us. Her outbursts were usually the result of frustration and fear that we were moving away from God’s will for us–meaning the “rules” of Catholic life. We couldn’t always talk to her about things because they might come back to haunt us later. That led me to find other strong women as mentors and mother figures.

There were Mrs. R. and Mrs. C, who understood my mother’s struggles and knew that I needed that little bit of extra attention. There was Marie who showed up throughout my life to step in during weddings and from whom  I would learn how to set a table and host guests with grace. My neighbor Pat who helped me lose weight in high school and gave me confidence to find friends in an awkward time. As I moved on with my life and following my mother’s death I have come to know some remarkable women, starting with my sister Marilyn who I watched navigate the ups and downs of marriage while my brother and I went through divorce after divorce.

There was my dear friend Gail who taught me how to live as an unmarried woman in love with the Lord. God sent me wonderful women friends with whom I could share my life challenges and would remind me that I am never alone and I am worthy of love and friendship. Still other mentors from my church world guide me to forgiveness for my own actions and into redemption through healing prayer. I have met wonderful women living in ministry and with sacrifice in the service of the Lord and to other women.

Today I want to remember all of these wonderful women that God put in my world to help me navigate life and draw nearer to him. I am extremely grateful to them for taking the time to listen, to share their story, and to pray with me. I appreciate the lessons I have learned and their willingness to walk with me into a new changed life.

Maybe Mother’s Day brings up some pain in your life. Maybe you don’t have the TV perfect mother and feel that you missed out. Maybe your mother was missing as you grew up and you feel abandoned.

If that is you, I encourage you to look beyond the label of the day and look at the women in your life. Is there someone who had a special impact on your life? Is there someone who you cherish because of the woman of God she is and the blessing you receive every time you get together?  Maybe she is an older woman and maybe she is a younger lady. Think about her. Honor her. Pray for her. Give thanks for her.

Don’t let this Sunday be a gloomy day for you. Don’t feel compelled to celebrate in the traditional manner. Seek out a woman who has touched you and give her a call. Thank her at church on Sunday. Take her out for lunch next week. Be blessed and then honor her in the best way possible: pass it on. Be a blessing to some woman or young girl that she too may know the joy of a giving relationship with women.

And if you are fortunate enough that the woman who influenced you most is your mom–breathe in that love, let it warm your heart, and make sure she knows the love and respect you have. If your relationship is strained with your mother, lift her up to the Lord and ask that he redeem your relationship and bring healing and restoration. In all things, give thanks for the life she gave you and the woman you are today.

Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.
Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children,
to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God. (Titus 2:3-5)

 

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The Empty Arms of Motherhood

Mother’s Day can be a painful day for many women.

  • It is a reminder of a child lost.
  • It is a reminder of a child given up in adoption.
  • It is a reminder of a child never born.
  • It is a reminder of broken relationships between a child and a mother.
  • it is a reminder for some couples of the child they are desperate to have.
  • it is a reminder for some singles of the life they have without loving their own child.

And for some it is a  day of defending their choice not to have children.

For all the joy that Mother’s Day may bring to many women, some find themselves in a sad spot today. They may not look forward to walking into church and seeing others around them sitting with their children and celebrating the day. They may feel uncomfortable when someone wishes them a Happy Mother’s Day when they don’t feel happy at all.

If you are one of these women, I want to remind you that you are loved by a Father who understands your pain. He too lost a child. He has a plan for your life regardless of your status as a mother. Perhaps he is calling you to come along side other women and encourage them in their sadness. Maybe he is calling you to walk with other singles and encourage them of their value as a woman.. Maybe he is calling you to work with children and fill the void you believe you have by sharing his love with them.

God does not leave us in our circumstances without purpose. You are a strong woman made in God’s image and you have value and worth in this life.

You may carry the memory of loving a child gone and that is a precious gift to give to others.

You may not be at the point of having children yet and can use this time to support others in a way God is nudging you.

You may have children living apart from you and today you can reach out and remind them that you love them, no matter what has happened in the past.

I want to encourage you today as you run into women who you know are in these circumstances to love on them. Genuinely love on them. Maybe pick up a little bunch of flowers on your way out and give them to a special lady and remind her that  she is special and is a beloved child of God herself. Let us use the love God has given to us to lift up others in sharing that love today.

Happy Lovely Wonderfully Made Women’s Day!!